New Poetry from Featured Artist Kate Garrett
Today our Featured Artist Kate Garrett blesses us with some previously unpublished poems, specially selected for Animal Heart Press.
|Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash|
"These are two poems from a collaborative pamphlet I’m writing with a friend – we chose angels as our topic, because we both appreciate there is more to angel lore than the twee, feathery beings of popular art and culture. We decided instead to write our poems about Biblical angels, angels in the occult and esotericism, and so on. The first of my two angel poems is about Sandalphon – one of only two angels to have originally been human (Elijah) – whose job is to weave prayers to send up to God; and the second involves John Dee and Edward Kelley, an alchemist and a medium who claimed to be in contact with angels, and founded the Enochian system of ceremonial magic."
Sandalphon counts doubts as prayers for garlands
cities on earth are your sandcastle kingdoms / with the vastness of Jupiter’s orbit / you spin prayers without pause into blossoms and vines of voices and silence
you gathered in the leaves of my own endless slate-morning sun-bright noon dusk nights / as I stared into the honeysuckle heat of nowhere summer / asking God for anything he could spare
or you found me on the floor / washed up by a bourbon storm / heard me crying out / muttering demands of him for near-death moments / proof of miracles in the breathless cold
and in New York / I lost the choice to think or speak / couldn’t see the tops of buildings from the street / and you rose even higher / heard and held my strangled squeak for payback
you are there each time / catching stray desires pushed adrift from every disparate dream / harmonising pure and cursed / to weave your diadems / our offerings to heaven
|Photo by Gavin Allanwood on Unsplash|
for John Dee & Edward Kelley
Numbers were the language of the stars, and John shoved
every key he held in the universe’s locks – none would turn,
no door opened on the out-of-reach secrets he chased like a
talbot hound scenting the stag. He wanted the stars to reveal
the lurkers beneath, the million hands moving the world, found
nothing. He searched between dust-dampened pages, deep in dark
waters, over his head, before he could translate a single incantation.
No angels met him halfway, no demons took up residence in
the library stillness, empty until Edward heard answers in polished
crystal circles. Monstrous apparitions spoke of Adam, of Enoch,
of words no living being had heard, promised sound sequences
that when uttered would join the sky with earth, bring humankind
to peace. Letters at last recorded, the system complete, and John
could think only of making magick, primed for the last request:
to send his wife away to the scryer’s bed, to broaden their power
by taking Edward’s woman into his. The angel moulding scripture
for the purpose: all things are lawful, they say. One thin wall between
these four reluctant bodies, finding a way through the maze. Discovery.
And after the trade: a swift return to the mundane, to death, a legacy
of guttural truth overlaid with ancient gods. The whole of the law.